A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions. Proverbs 18:2
I remember when I was learning about respect and really began seeking with all my heart to honor God and become the godly woman He wanted me to be – and it hit me that I was often doing the things that “fools” do in Proverbs.
That was a startling realization.
I always assumed I was classified along with the “wise.” But then God began to show me my behavior and just how many of the “foolish” things I had been doing.
OUCH! OUCH! OUCH!
If you begin to study Proverbs and apply these words of wisdom to your marriage – it can be shocking. Put your name in the place of “fool” and the “wise man” in Proverbs and think about your marriage.
“April finds no pleasure in understanding Greg, but delights in airing her own opinions.” – You know what? That was TOTALLY ME.
I didn’t really seek to understand Greg those first 14+ years of our marriage. I knew that I was “right” after all. Why waste my time understanding someone who is so “clearly wrong”? I had it in my head that I was:
- spiritually so much more mature than he was
- morally superior to him
- much closer to God than he was
- able to discern God’s will (and I assumed that he could not do this nearly as well as I could)
PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE and self-righteousness. 🙁 Mountains of it. All of that had to go.
I love what Nina Roesner says in The Respect Dare today,
“Many women erroneously look toward marriage as the place where all their hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. Instead, we need to look at marriage as a context through which we will grow more as a person… Marriage is a context through which we have the opportunity to become more holy, not necessarily happier.”
That one concept alone could revolutionize our marriages and completely alter our expectations in the most wonderful ways.
The true story in The Respect Dare on Day 35 brings me to tears. A husband calls his wife and asks her to bring the tax folder to him. She is exhausted, the sick baby is asleep. She lists all the reasons she can’t bring it and telling him what a horrible day she has had. He comes home to get it, jeopardizing his job by leaving early again (unbeknownst to his wife), feeling exhausted himself and feeling invisible with the arrival of their new baby.
Nina’s main message today,
“Don’t be so caught up in your own life that you forget to make your husband feel important today.”
I remember talking with Greg as I was reading various books about respect that mentioned how husbands can feel like they “lose” their wives to the new baby once a baby arrives. I VERY PURPOSELY tried NOT to make our children more important than my husband. This was before I learned about respect and biblical submission, though.
I asked him years later, “Did you feel alienated and left out when we had our babies?” And I was SHOCKED when he said, “Of course I did.”
Now, of course, I know that I was also coming across as very critical and judgmental of him. And, because I had read all the latest baby books and he hadn’t, I easily assumed I knew so much more than he did about how to take the best care of the baby.
I remember trying to include him on things. I was nursing, so he really couldn’t get up with the baby to feed him/her. But I had NO IDEA that he felt left out of our family and my life. I knew that I felt left out of his life because he was often watching tv a lot or on the computer. I remember feeling very invisible to him many times. I would beg him to tell me what he needed from me. He wouldn’t answer or didn’t know how to verbalize it. And I had no clue. And all that time, he was feeling ignored somehow, too.
- I know that my husband has valuable wisdom to share with me
- I know that his opinion and perspective is at least as important as mine is
- I seek to put myself in my husband’s shoes and try to understand what it is like to live in his world and see how I can most bless him each day
- I want to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry
- I give him the benefit of the doubt. I assume the best about him now instead of the worst
- Ask your husband if he feels more important to you than anyone else in the world (including your children, your parents, your friends, your church, etc.) Then LISTEN to his response. If he feels safe, he will share the truth with you. If he doesn’t want to answer – assume he does not feel safe – and assume you have work to do in this area.
- How can you make your husband feel very important to you this week? What is one thing you can do?
- What can you do to thank your husband for working to provide for the family on a frequent basis (if he has a job)?
- Figure out what is important to your husband and begin to do those things! Ask him if you need to.
- My husband likes for me to be off of the computer by 10:00pm so we can have time together.
- He likes the front hallway to be relatively neat and orderly.
- He likes me to not stress myself out about things, not to over schedule or expect too much of myself to the point that I get overwhelmed.
- He likes me to work about 8-12 hours/week in the pharmacy (This has been a bit more of a challenge since my hours got cut. But, so far, God has provided at least as many hours every month doing relief work as I had been getting before. I am thankful for this because it is important to my husband.)
- He likes me to sit and cuddle with him while he watches tv at night.
I also try to
- initiate intimacy sometimes and/or be receptive but also be aware of times when he is tired or not feeling well and extend grace.
- be responsive to his needs- spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically
- stop what I am doing and really LISTEN whenever he wants to talk
- give him a BIG WELCOME HOME every day
- cook meals I know he likes and try to avoid making chicken tacos once he finally told me he doesn’t like that.
Every week or so, I ask him a question like this:
- “What can I do for you this week?”
- “What would you like me to focus on today?”
- “Is there anything you’d like me to change?”
- “Is there something you would like me to cook for you or keep on hand that I have not been getting?
If doing one dare every day is too overwhelming – slow down! If you need to take a few days for one dare – that is totally fine. Go at whatever pace you need to. If this is the first time you have been exposed to many of these concepts, you may need to take several days to absorb some of these ideas. That is ok!